One of the world’s largest e-sporting events went underway in Reykjavík yesterday, RÚV reports. An estimated 600 people have traveled to Iceland in connection to the event, which pits competitors against each other in two different tournaments. Strict social restrictions are in effect in the Laugardalshöll sporting arena.
Last year, Riot Games—one of the largest video game companies in the world—was forced to cancel its League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational (or MSI for short) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year, as countries across the world ramped up their vaccination campaigns, Riot Games announced that the tournament would go ahead in May and that it would be held in Reykjavík. In addition to the MSI, Riot Games also announced that a second tournament, the so-called Valorant Champions Tour (VCT) Masters Reykjavik, would be held alongside the first. The VCT is the first live international tournament for the Valorant video game.
According to event organizers, Iceland was chosen as a venue for the tournament as it “ranked first” with regard to relevant criteria, ranging from the state of the working environment to stability, in its broadest context. In an interview with RÚV yesterday, Nick Troop—director of the tournament—explained that Riot Games had approached Business Iceland (Íslandsstofa) with the idea of hosting a tournament in Iceland: “It was a win-win for everyone. Iceland is a wonderful country that has responded extremely effectively to the pandemic. We are grateful to be here.”
Strick social restrictions for all 600 attendees
This week, Troop and his cohort traveled to Iceland alongside 11 professional teams from all over the world, in addition to personnel comprising approximately 400 people. “We reach many millions of people from all over the world, across forty different media platforms,” Troop stated. Asked how many people would attend the event, Troop estimated that somewhere between 500-600 people, including professional players and personnel, would be in attendance.
Strict social restrictions will be in effect at the tournament. No one is allowed to enter the Laugardalshöll arena without submitting a negative PCR test. “In collaboration with Business Iceland and the Icelandic health authorities, we decided that every traveler, whether or not they were vaccinated, would self isolate for five days,” Troop explained. “Only after this period of isolation, and only after having received a second negative PCR test, would they be allowed to attend the tournament.” Event organizers will also be taking the temperatures of attendees and tracking the interactions between personnel to ensure effective tracking in the event of an infection.
The busiest travel weekend of 2021
The tournament goes underway as 17 passenger planes are expected to arrive at Keflavík Airport this weekend. The arrivals make for the busiest travel weekend in Iceland this year, with eight passenger planes expected to arrive on Saturday and nine on Sunday.
There are currently three quarantine hotels in operation in the Greater Reykjavík Area, capable of receiving approximately 500 guests.
In early April, Iceland’s Court of Appeal confirmed the district court’s ruling that authorities cannot require people to spend their quarantine at quarantine hotels when arriving in the country. The ruling mandated clearer requirements for home quarantine, regarding, for example, housing and rules of conduct. However, those travelers who are unable to stay in a home quarantine that fulfills the requirements will need to stay at a quarantine facility. No fee shall be collected for the stay.